Brian Pyle's Ensemble Economique project landed like a global financial crisis in 2008. Two releases that year — At the Foot of Nameless Roads and No GPS — grabbed listeners by the ears and introduced new meaning to the term "capital intensity."
A couple-dozen releases later, we have In Silhouette, no less immediate and demanding than Pyle's early efforts. This is a mature, self-assured recording. The major piece here is "In the Clear Blue Waters of Memory," featuring a collaboration with Jung An Tagen, an electronic artist out of Vienna. The synth lines here cut like glass, while whispered spoken-word vocals and tight, piercing loops add to the sense of unease the work triggers.
"Battle Cry" kicks off the record's second side, which is more contemplative, even relaxing, but even the quieter moments feel in-your-face — the electronics are big and chunky on tracks two to five. Pyle does an effective job of balancing that intensity though, with subtle percussion and multilingual spoken-word recordings. "You in the Horizon" is a fine example of the latter.
Pure ambient fans will think this one a bit heavy. Others will find it stands up nicely to repeated listens. (Denovali)